The swing state of Nevada is on the verge of becoming the fifteenth state in America to scrap the Electoral College.
Or try to, anyway …
Nevada’s Democratic governor – Steve Sisolak – is expected to sign a bill passed by his state’s legislature that would award Nevada’s six electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote.
Assuming that happens, Nevada would be the first “purple” or “swing” state to join a coalition of liberal states (and the über-liberal District of Columbia) in embracing the so-called National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC) – an effort to overturn the Electoral College and choose the occupant of the White House on the basis of the national popular vote.
In 2016, the popular vote was won by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton – who received 65,853,652 votes (or 48.02 percent of all ballots cast). U.S. president Donald Trump received 62,985,134 votes (or 45.93 percent of all ballots cast).
However, narrow wins in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin propelled Trump to a decisive victory in the Electoral College.
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(Via: Wikimedia Commons)
In 2000, former U.S. vice president Al Gore received 51,009,810 votes (or 48.38 percent of all ballots cast. Thanks to a disputed recount election in Florida, though, former president George W. Bush – who received 50,462,412 votes – narrowly prevailed in the Electoral College.
Bush won Florida – and the White House – by just 537 votes.
Upset over these outcomes, liberal voters have embraced the NPVIC as an alternative electoral framework – and have had success in ginning up popular support nationwide for such a movement.
There are currently 538 presidential electors, and to win the presidency one must secure 270 of them. Assuming Sisolak signs the popular vote bill, the NPVIC signatories would have a combined 195 electoral votes under their belts – 75 votes shy of an electoral majority.
If Sisolak signs the bill, Nevada would become the fourth state to join the compact this year – following Colorado, Delaware and New Mexico. Maine and Oregon are also likely to join at some point, which would bring the signatories’ total number of electoral votes to 206 – or 64 votes shy of an electoral majority.
Is the NPVIC enforceable? Eh. Is it constitutional? No …
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According to Article I, Section 10 of the U.S. Constitution, “no state shall, without the consent of congress … enter into any agreement or compact with another state.”
Pretty cut and dried, huh? Indeed … and that is before we address the potential of the compact to disenfranchise millions of Americans.
According to a 2018 Harvard University journal report, the compact is “a constitutional crisis in waiting,” one that “flagrantly contradicts the will of the framers” of the Constitution.
“There is no question that this is unconstitutional and completely against the Framers’ intent, or for that matter any conceivable public meaning of the Constitution,” the report’s author, Patrick C. Valencia, noted.
Valencia termed the compact a “threat” – and an “audacious encroachment on the Constitution.”
“The Compact is inconsistent with historical practice because it envisions the polity as one unified constituency with essentially identical interests in all relevant respects, disregards our federal structure, and results in an executive who is unrepresentative of all but the densely populated urban areas of the country, thereby exercising power beyond a state’s constitutional grant of authority,” he concluded.
Others agree …
“Losing two elections in the Electoral College despite popular vote pluralities is bound to frustrate partisans on the left, and it has seemingly driven some of them to embrace radical, nonsensical solutions,” argued Kyle Sammin for The Federalist. “Emotions run high in electoral politics, but they cannot overcome the truth of what the Constitution does and does not allow. Proponents of a popular vote are free to amend the Constitution if they can but until they do so, they must respect the rule of law and accept the results of elections.”
We concur …
America is not a democracy, it is a Republic. And its method of electing presidents – while perhaps not perfect – was deliberately crafted by the framers with the objective of ensuring widespread representation among the citizenry. If supporters of the NPVIC wish to undo that framework, then they need to follow the process established by the Constitution as opposed to making an end-run that has the potential to disenfranchise millions of American citizens.
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